A dust up in the Thematic Openings Championship

Oct 30, 2015, 8:53 PM |

The "Thematic Openings Championship" filled a niche at chess.com, for a fun match-tournament based on a randomly assigned opening played by every board on each team.  The TOC, as Forrest Gump said, is "like a box of chocolates - you never know what you're going to get."

It was meant to be a fun competition, and so far, it has been that.  Like any new league, there are teething pains.  The initial group of participating Administrators were asked for input about the tournament rules, and discussions ensued about how to run the competition.  The rules are published in the TOC forums.

One thing that was written in stone, from the very beginning, was that cheating and other bad behaviors were not to be tolerated.

So it happened today, that one of my teams was accused by the SA of our opponent, of "cheating."  Why?  Because we were trimming our roster, while inviting our stronger players to register, in the last two days before the start.

Suddenly, rather than a fairly even match, in which we already held an advantage on 21 of the top-30 boards (minimum in the division = 30), we suddenly overwhelmed our opposition with players rated from 1700 to over 2000 in a open rating match.

They were caught flat-footed.

Some leagues do not allow roster deletions, except for cause.  Some leagues have a minimum and maximum number of boards.  The TOC tournament rule was that each team must meet the minimum, and beyond that, it is each team's own business.

Is it cheating to try to field your strongest team?  Or, rather, is it terrible sportsmanship to accuse the other team of cheating and summarily quit the tournament.

I would be interested to hear your views.